Tips on How to Make Summer Reading Extra Fun For Kids
It's summer vacation! The summer months are supposed to be fun and carefree and provide a little time to spend with the entire family.
I get it; it's called summer break for a reason. It means a break from all the chaos of school and homework and the fights over getting your child to read each night. However, your child's reading time is not one that you should be so quick to abandon just yet. Research shows that children who spend at least twenty minutes a day over the summer lose much fewer reading skills gained over the previous school year. Teachers refer to this as the "summer slide." It's where students decline or slide back to earlier reading levels they reached by the end of the school year. That means all that hard work and progress gained is out the door!
Importance of Summer Reading
Reading over the summer is extremely important for your child's development and growth. It offers the opportunity to bridge the gap between grades and allows progress to continue over summer break, improving the child's reading level. Partaking in reading over the summer helps children maintain and improve their vocabulary, critical thinking, and comprehension skills. Kids expand their knowledge and understanding of the world by exploring different genres, stories, and ideas. Moreover, summer reading activities cultivate a love of reading, stimulate the imagination, and nurture creativity. Reading allows children to find new interests, develop empathy, explore diverse perspectives and new topics, and enhance communication skills. Most importantly, reading over the summer will set your child up for success in the new school year, and at the end of the summer, you will see a growth in their confidence and pride!
In this blog, we will explore ways to make summer reading fun. You can still have a great time this summer and make time to get your twenty minutes of daily reading in! These tips will allow your child to have fun reading and take the pressure off you as the parent to ensure you are doing enough to keep their reading up this summer! Sit back and relax, and let me give you some ideas for fun activities, different books they can read, and other reading tips for children of all ages!
Creative Ways to Make Reading Fun Over the Summer
1. Let your child choose their own books:
Giving a child choice over reading materials is a huge motivator. It's crucial to help find books that meet your child's interests. According to the Kids & Family Reading Report, "Across all ages, a majority of kids (68%) say they would read more if they could find more books they like, and nearly four in 10 parents (38%) agree that their child has trouble finding books he or she likes." Don't be afraid to let them seek out the type of books they want to read, even if it's a graphic novel, comic book, or magazine.
Reading what they enjoy will bring joy and excitement to reading. Even offering them a stack of books that are all preapproved by you, but they get to choose which one to read, is better than forcing a specific book on your child. The freedom of choice makes them much more excited to read! And It's also ok if they want to read their favorite books repeatedly. I know it can be frustrating for you as the parent, but the repetition helps them build fluency, understanding of the material, critical thinking skills, and more.
To get some reading ideas and view popular summer books, look at my recent blog titled "The Ultimate List of the Best Summer-Themed Children's Books" by clicking here.
2. Listen to Audiobooks: Summertime can be busy. I get it! Don't disregard audiobooks! They can be a great way to grow vocabulary, build critical thinking skills, and model proper reading speed and expression while on the go. They can be listened to on planes, in the car, and more. Kids can access many books and find a perfect time to listen, even when busy!
3. Read in a Different Location: Having a list of different places for your child to look forward to reading over the summer can be a fun way to challenge them and get them excited about reading. What kid doesn't love reading in a tent or under a flashlight?! It's an easy way to motivate you and your family to get out and explore your small town, read at a nearby park, or go on a fun reading adventure! Click the button below to download a FREE checklist of fun places to challenge your child to read this summer.
4. Visit Your Local Library: Ensure your children have their own library cards so that you can make regular trips to your local library. Visiting the public library can be fun discovering new books for kids of all ages. It can also be a great way to teach your child about responsibility as they learn how to check out borrowed books, care for them, and return them on time. The library offers unlimited access to new books and allows them to explore new genres. The library is an excellent and affordable way to give them the choice of what books to read and check out, which is highly motivating for them to read!
The library can be a great place to check in and see what resources and activities they offer over the summer. Some libraries have weekly read-aloud or storytime and fun activities for kids, and some even provide meals for kids over the summer months, which can significantly relieve low-income families. Check-in with your local library and see what they have to offer!
5. Join a Magazine Subscription: A subscription to a magazine can be fun for kids because they look forward to receiving their next issue in the mail. The bite-sized articles, colorful illustrations, and exciting topics will excite your child about reading!
Below are some popular magazine subscriptions for kids you may want to consider:
National Geographic: When I checked, they had a kid's magazine subscription for a limited-time offer of $30 for a year or $55 for a two-year subscription. It's a reasonable way to keep your child excited, engaged, and motivated about reading!
Highlights Magazines: There's a reason this magazine has been one of the top magazines for kids for more than 75 years! The main magazines are geared towards ages 6-12, but parents can also subscribe to magazines for children as young as 0-2, and they have all different age ranges. These magazines are popular because they are affordable, fun, and educational. You can get them for as little as $19.99 for six months. They have stories, activities, games, and more! They also have puzzle book subscriptions and craft or learning box subscriptions.
Sports Illustrated Kids: This magazine is great for any sports lover. It's a great way to spark their interest and get them reading! The magizines feature interviews with their favorite players, comics, and more. A year subscription is only $19.95 for six issues or $29.95 for a two-year subscription (12 issues).
Zoo Books: This magazine is great for kids ages 6-12. Each magazine features in-depth information about an animal, beautiful photographs, games and activities, and more! They also have other options for younger children, such as their Ranger Rick Cub magazine (ages 0-4), Ranger Rick Jr. magazine (ages 4-7), and more!
Owl: Older kids or preteens enjoy this magazine, which is geared towards older students ages 9-13. According to their website, "OWL highlights elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and math to encourage kids to discover, explore, engage, and inspire...OWL is loaded with quizzes, comics, cool tech news, expert interviews, ground-breaking discoveries, and innovations, futuristic inventions and hands-on-building, book and movie reviews, reader art and advice, contests, and much more."
Additionally, they have other options for children starting at age three, going all the way up to 13, so you can find the best option for your child and their interests and needs!
6. Sign your child up for a Summer Reading Program or Other Incentive Programs
I recently wrote a blog titled "13 Free Summer Reading Programs For Kids in 2023." There you can find a variety of free reading material for summer, including a fun challenge, video games, audio books, book lists, sweepstakes to win things like a free book, and more. Reading programs include those from professional sports teams, Showcase Cinemas, Scholastic Home Base, and Pizza Hut, to name a few. Click here to view!
7. Find Book Clubs: Book clubs can be a great way to keep older children involved in reading over the summer. They foster a sense of community, learn new things, allow a set reading time, help develop a love for reading, and promote critical thinking skills. Through group discussions, kids learn to analyze and interpret texts, enhancing their comprehension skills and deepening their understanding of the stories they read. Plus, being a part of the group motivates them to read and keep up with the material and reading.
8. Create a Summer Reading Goal: A reading goal for summer can be as simple as setting the number of books your child hopes to read and setting out to achieve it, attempting their first chapter book, exploring new titles, a list of things they want to read, a list of different genres to explore, and more. Setting a summer reading goal provides motivation, motivates them to read, instills discipline and time management skills, and gives them a sense of accomplishment. By setting goals, children prioritize reading, improve their reading skills, and cultivate a lifelong love for reading.
9. Challenge your Child with Book Dives: This is a fun way to get family members involved. Doing a book dive means diving deep into the book by discussing what you have read, analyzing the characters, re-reading, thinking critically, rewriting the ending, and more. Pick a good book to read with your child and analyze it together. I found a site where a lady created cute book dives you can purchase for yourself and your family. They look like they are geared toward younger readers, but you can scroll through and see what skills they cover and see if you can find a good fit for your child. Click here to view!
10. Explore Reading Rainbow Together: Do you remember the show Reading Rainbow from growing up? It was intensely popular in the '80s and '90s. So much so that it even ran into the 2000s. It was the most popular and longest-run show on PBS. Well, they still pump out fun reading material for younger children today! Their website has read-aloud videos and follow-up activities for families (in Spanish and English!) They also have other resources for parents to work on literacy skills at home. Including games, recipes, crafts, and other everyday activities!
**Another really great resource for read-alouds, all done by celebrities, is Storyline Online.
11. Hire a Reading Tutor: It's nice to have a set time each week for reading, and it takes a little weight off parents' shoulders to know that their child is working with a professional on their reading skills over the summer. The nice thing about tutoring is that it is one-on-one. Individual attention and consideration of personal needs allow the tutor to create material specific to your child's needs and interests. You don't have to try and plan a fun activity each day to keep up on their reading, and it's the best and easiest way to ensure your child is getting the practice they need, reading the right books, and building their reading level. Hiring a tutor is effective, even for the most reluctant readers, because I can build a relationship with each child, making them feel confident and safe in their learning environment. If you are interested in signing your child up for a FREE Reading Assessment to get the tutoring process started today, click the button below.
If I stress one summer reading tip, I hope you get out and enjoy yourself this summer with a side of reading! The most important thing is to have fun with it! We want young readers to develop positive memories and excitement around reading. In this blog post, I hope you found some creative ways to incorporate 20 minutes daily into your child's daily routine over the summer. Get out and explore your public libraries, subscribe to a magazine, join a book club or summer reading program or challenge, check out library books, do a book dive, and read together. Here, you should have found weeks of activities and ideas to put your mind at ease, knowing your child is getting the reading they need over the summer. Reading time might be your and your child's favorite part of the day!
Enjoy your summer, and happy reading!
About the Author
Janay Neufeld is an online reading specialist and confidence coach for kids. Her unique approach can help children worldwide increase their confidence and reading skills with positive mindset training, helping them reach their full potential!
She has ten years of experience helping children feel like skilled, confident readers. She has her multiple-subject teaching credential, Orton Gillingham trained through the Institute for Multisensory Education, and she has a Master of Arts in Education. She is also certified as a life coach for kids through Adventures in Wisdom.
Click the button below to sign up for a FREE Reading Assessment and find out if tutoring might be a great fit for your child!